This is a favourite introduction from the Indo-Chinese cuisine. The crispy fried balls floating in the spicy tangy sauce is served as a main course dish with rice or noodles. Well, before you read ahead about this lip-smacking and addictive dish, you will have to erase that figure on the weighing scale for those few indulging moments with the fried vegetable dumplings. Alternatively, I had decided to keep away from the high fat content and so, prepared the vegetable balls by steaming them. Yes, I guess, the palate has to sacrifice that crunchy fried taste to have a healthy diet!
The “vegetable manchurian” with a rich gloss deserves its place on the spread when you have guests and parties. These crispy balls can also be fried and served minus the gravy to make a dry cocktail snack. Save this tip to flaunt that chef in you. Add bits of minced meat, fish or chicken along with the base, to make the balls suit the meat-lover’s palate.
Mixed Vegetable Manchurian
Time taken: 30 min
Ingredients for the vegetable balls:
- Grated cabbage: 1/2 cup
- Grated carrot: 1/2 cup
- Grated cauliflower (optional): 1/2 cup
- Finely chopped spring onions: 1/2 cup
- Finely chopped green bell pepper/capsicum: 1/2 cup
- Finely chopped French beans: 1/4 cup
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Cornflour: 2 tsp
- All-purpose flour (if steaming, add wheat flour to bind it well): 4 tbsp
- Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tsp
- Red chilli sauce: 1 tsp
- Black pepper powder: 1/2 tsp
- Oil for deep-frying
Ingredients for the sauce:
- Oil: 1 tbsp
- Garlic cloves (finely chopped): 2
- Minced ginger (optional): 1 tsp
- Minced green chillies: 1 tsp
- Dark soya sauce: 1 tbsp
- Vinegar (white): 1 tbsp
- Tomato sauce: 1 tbsp
- Chilli sauce: 1 tbsp
- A pinch of salt
- Cornflour-water mixture: 2 tbsp in 1.5 cups water
- Sugar (optional): 1/4 tsp
- Minced spring onions: 1 tbsp
Method for frying the vegetable balls:
- In a large bowl, mix all the vegetables with the salt. Set aside for 30 min.
- Using your hands, squeeze the moisture out of the vegetables.
- Mix the remaining ingredients, except the oil, with the vegetables and form into balls.
- Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry the balls for 5-8 min, until golden brown.
Method for steaming the vegetable balls:
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients, except flour.
- Add flour gradually, while kneading, without using any water. The salt will drain out the water from the vegetables. Add flour until you get soft pliable, non sticky dough.
- Place 4-5 cups of water in the steamer, bring to a boil.
- Make small balls: about over an inch diameter and arrange them on the oiled perforated vessel to be kept in the steamer. You could also use a bamboo steamer or idli maker.
- Steam for 10-12 min, until a skewer inserted into the balls comes out clean.
- To save time, while the vegetable balls are steaming, you can get the sauce ready.
Method for the sauce:
- In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic, ginger and green chillies and sauté for 1 min.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the spring onions, mixing well. Bring to a boil.
- Now add the fried or steamed vegetable balls and bring to a boil for 1 min.
- Remove from the heat and stir-in the spring onions.
- Serve hot with steamed rice, noodles or fried rice.